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What is Festivus? — How to Celebrate This Unique Holiday [VIDEO]

theogeo, Flickr

Most of us have heard about the quirky holiday named Festivus because of an episode of ‘Seinfeld,’ but did you know that it is a real secular holiday? This celebration has grown from the TV script and is being honored around the world. But, what exactly is Festivus?

This holiday was invented by Dan O’Keefe who went on to write a book about this new way to spend the holidays with the family. “The Real Festivus” explains in detail how to properly celebrate the holiday and gives some back story on how O’Keefe came up with the idea. The title seems to make a comment to the Seinfeld episode which O’Keefe’s son actually wrote for the TV series. Here is a clip from the show for a little introduction.

That is right, “Festivus for the rest of us” involves a feast, airing of grievances, and feats of strength. Every December 23rd, Festivus supporters use an aluminum pole instead of a Christmas tree and give their thoughts about their problems with others rather than gifts. All of this is done in an attempt to celebrate the end of the year without all of the corporate pressure to buy lots of expensive gifts. O’Keefe wanted to have a day to be a little different for a break from the day to day rush of modern life.

The feats of strength and airing of grievances are meant to relieve built up stress and have a little fun. It gives everyone in attendance a chance to let some things off their chest. People who have made Festivus a part of their family tradition love to have guests. This allowed me to experience this odd observance. The second I was invited to a Festivus party, I accepted with joy. I wanted to know what all of this was about. The party turned into one of the most exciting and fun nights I have ever had.

We ate the usual turkey and ham and drank some adult holiday beverages before all of the festivities began. We all gathered around the host’s bon-fire and passed around the Festivus pole to let out what had bothered us that year. With every pass, the airing of grievances became more hilarious. The last participant exclaimed he was tired of letting everyone tell him what to do and then he threw his tax information into the fire. After everyone recovered from shock, we moved to the set up for the feats of strength.

Traditionally, the Festivus feats of strength are just a chosen guest wrestling with the owner of the home. That didn’t seem to be satisfying enough for these men, so they added a few new sportsman activities. Throwing heavy objects the farthest, squats with lots of weight on the shoulders, and carrying someone on your back during a race were the back yard events that took place. Though not everyone competed, no one left without a smile on their face. We all felt as if we had celebrated the season in one of the more enjoyable ways.

I do not know if I will ever make Festivus an annual happening, but I really cherish the memories of that December 23 I had. When it comes down to basic comparisons, Festivus is like any other holiday party. A gathering of family and friends, delicious food, drinks, conversation, and maybe some wrestling.

I suggest trying this celebration out. It can be a great warm up to the goings on just two days after on Christmas. Let out what has bothered you this year and give thanks for your friends and family with a little more cash in your pocket.

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